Classic Martini

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PREP TIME 5 min

Cocktail Type

Martini

Great for

Summer

Difficulty

Easy

Top view of a classic Martini cocktail served with savory snacks

The Martini is one of the most iconic cocktails of all time. Associated with sophistication, class, and 007 of course, the Martini has cemented itself as an iconic staple. In fact, there are now so many Martini variations that some bars have whole menus dedicated to them, with a dazzling array of dry, wet, sweet, and spicy concoctions.  But to set your standards suitably high, it’s time to try our very best Classic Martini recipe. 

 

QUICK TIPS

01

A classic gin Martini is the perfect pre-dinner drink for a more sophisticated evening.

02

Shake your Martini if you prefer a more diluted drink. Stir it if you want a drink that tastes slightly stronger.

03

The perfect Martini is all about using the best spirits and getting the ratios right

INGREDIENTS

MAKE FOR

1 Person

50 Ml

1.67 Oz

1.67 Parts

3
Drops of orange bitters
Lemon twist and olive to garnish
Ice

INSTRUCTIONS

01

Add ice to a large mixing glass

02

Add the gin, vermouth and orange bitters

03

Stir until chilled (about 30 seconds)

04

Strain into a chilled Martini glass

05

Express the lemon peel over the top of the drink, rub it down the stem of the glass and then drop it into the drink

06

Garnish with an olive, and serve

The origins of the Martini cocktail

This is one of the most popular drinks in the world, so it makes sense that there are tons of stories about where the Martini originated. You can choose which one you like best:

  • The Martinez Special. A famous story goes that the Martini was invented in Martinez, California, during the 1800s Gold Rush. Ostensibly, a miner struck gold (literally) and went to a bar to celebrate his good fortune. With no champagne in stock, the bartender made do with what he had to create a celebratory cocktail. 
  • It’s all in the name. This popular theory is also worth mentioning. According to some, the drink was named after the brand of sweet vermouth used in the initial recipe. The name stuck, and all its variations became famous across the globe. 
  • Knickerbocker glory. Many New Yorkers insist that the Martini was created by Martini di Amara di Taggia, a bartender at Knickerbocker Hotel. According to legend, he invented this iconic drink in 1911 to honour America’s first-ever billionaire, John B Rockefeller. This is our favourite theory because we can totally picture the popularity of this drink spreading across the city as businessmen started enjoying the famous 3-Martini-lunch.  

How to make the classic Martini cocktail?

If you don’t know what a Martini drink is made up of, you’ll probably be surprised by its simplicity. With only two key ingredients—gin or vodka and dry vermouth, making a Martini is all about using the best spirits and getting the ratios right.  

The important question: shaken or stirred?

James Bond famously asked for his Martini to be “shaken, not stirred”, however, Martini experts generally disagree with this. This is because shaking the drink causes more of the ice to chip off and melt, diluting and altering the temperature of your Martini. Stirring Martinis gently with a cocktail stirrer results in a silkier mouthfeel and stops them from becoming cloudy. 

Which is better, gin or vodka?

Martini purists argue that a drink can only be called a real Martini if it’s made with gin and that anything else simply doesn’t count. But as time has gone by, you’re now just as likely to see modern martinis made with vodka, fruit or sparkling wine-based varieties like the Champagne Martini

What is dry Vermouth and why is it important in a Martini?

As one of the only two ingredients of a classic Martini, dry vermouth plays a very important role in this iconic recipe. Typically clear or pale yellow in colour, it is classed as a light and airy fortified wine. The best type to use has well-integrated floral, fruity, and herbal notes. This is particularly true of Cinzano Vermouth Bianco, which pairs beautifully with the botanical flavours of gin.

Sweet vermouth, on the other hand, has a richer infusion of herbs and spices, which gives it a deeper amber colour. It imparts hearty notes of spices like vanilla, caramel, and darker fruits, that underpin classic cocktails like the Negroni and Manhattan.

More about vermouth: Everything You Need to Know About Vermouth

4 Amazing Martini variations to try

The Classic Martini may seem like a deceptively simple combination of gin and dry vermouth, but there are many ways to shake up this particular combo. Here are a few variations to try if you’re on a mission to pinpoint your favourite:

  • Dry Martini: The Classic Martini features a ratio of 6 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. Some people prefer even less vermouth, using just a splash or rinse of the fortified wine to make a Dry Martini.
  • Wet Martini: On the flip side, a Wet Martini is more vermouth-heavy, often with a ratio of about 4 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. The exact ratio will vary based on individual taste preferences.
  • Dirty Martini: A Dirty Martini takes the core ingredients of a Classic Martini – dry gin and vermouth – and adds one (rather unexpected) ingredient: olive brine. By adding a dash of olive brine, the drink is given a uniquely salty and savoury flavour that many people love.
  • Perfect Martini: The Perfect Martini is made in the same way as the classic, but instead of only using dry vermouth, the recipe calls for equal parts dry and sweet vermouth. This gives the drink a sweeter finish.

More martinis this way: 22 Types of Martinis You Should Know

Lemon twist or olives?

Lemon peel is a classic choice as a Martini garnish. It adds a bright and citrussy zing to the drink that makes the rest of the flavours pop. A lemon twist is also simple to make.

  • Start by washing a lemon and patting it dry.
  • Use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to cut a strip of lemon peel, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible.
  • Twist the strip of lemon peel to form a curl or twist shape, and give it a squeeze over the cocktail glass before you drop it in the drink to release the aromatic essential oils.

If you prefer a more savoury flavour profile, olives are a great garnish choice. For a classic Martini, the most common type of olive used is the pitted green olive. The brininess and saltiness of the olive add a complementary flavour to the drink and helps to balance the taste of the gin. You can either use whole olives or stuff them with ingredients such as blue cheese or almonds to add an extra pop of flavour.

More garnish ideas: 16 Creative Cocktail Garnish Ideas for Your Next Cocktail Night

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

A Classic Martini is served in a chilled glass with either a lemon twist or olive garnish.

A classic Martini is herbaceous, slightly sweet and very gin-forward.

The Martini's hero ingredient is gin, but it gets stirred up with sweet vermouth, which complements the taste.